Must-Have Wide Receivers (March 2021 Fantasy Football)
When it comes to fantasy football, the offseason is the time to compile a list of players you are fixated on getting when it comes time to draft. Or it could be the time where you do everything in your power to acquire certain players in dynasty leagues. The wide receiver position is arguably the deepest group of players to choose from every year.
This offseason will be filled with talented wide receivers changing teams and others earning new roles on their respective teams. While it could be months until you conduct your fantasy drafts for the 2021 season, these are some wide receivers you’ll want to have shares of when Week 1 gets underway.
CeeDee Lamb (DAL)
The Dallas Cowboys lucked out when they were able to snag CeeDee Lamb with the No. 17 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. If it weren’t for Dak Prescott going down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5, Lamb could have put together a season that rivaled the one that Justin Jefferson had. From Weeks 1-5, Lamb was WR11 in PPR leagues as he notched 29 receptions, 433 receiving yards, and two touchdowns.
To illustrate just how remarkable he was with Prescott, he was on pace for 93 receptions, 1,386 receiving yards, and six touchdowns with No. 4 as his quarterback. Despite having Andy Dalton, Ben DiNucci, and Garrett Gilbert throwing him the ball from Weeks 6-17, Lamb still finished as WR22.
Seeing that Prescott is projected to return to the Cowboys in 2021, Lamb is poised for a stellar sophomore campaign in 2021. Lamb already proved that he could excel alongside Cooper and Gallup as he produced an astonishing 877 receiving yards from the slot in 2020, which was the second-most among wide receivers since 2017, per Pro Football Focus.
Most slot receiving yards since 2017:
1. Cole Beasley (2020) – 948
2. CeeDee Lamb (2020) – 877
3. Tyreek Hill (2018) – 857
4. Cooper Kupp (2019) – 853 pic.twitter.com/fTIgTfPg5t
— PFF (@PFF) January 9, 2021
As of this moment, Lamb is currently sitting as WR25 in the Expert Consensus Rankings on FantasyPros. Given that Lamb concluded 2020 as WR22 sans Prescott for 11 weeks, there’s a chance that Lamb is a top-20 wide receiver in 2021. Everyone should be doing everything in their power to get Lamb on their rosters this offseason.
D.J. Chark Jr. (JAX)
Barring any unforeseen changes, when the Jacksonville Jaguars are on the clock with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, they’ll be selecting Trevor Lawrence. Once Lawrence is officially announced as the next quarterback of the Jaguars, all of Jacksonville’s skill players will be smiling from ear-to-ear. More specifically, D.J. Chark could be cracking open his favorite brand of wine after Lawrence joins the Jaguars.
Chark broke out in his second year in the NFL in 2019 en route to him notching 73 catches, 1,008 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. He would finish as WR17 in 2019, only for him to have a forgettable group of quarterbacks targeting him throughout the 2020 season. The LSU product would fall all the way to WR49 in 2020, placing him as the third-leading scorer among Jacksonville’s wide receivers.
But with Lawrence likely coming to town, Chark should finally have a quarterback that can maximize his ability to stretch the field. Chark has proven to be a reliable option in the aerial game as he was among a unique group of wide receivers that saw 60+ targets, had an aDOT of 14+ yards, and a drop percentage fewer than five percent in 2020.
There is a decent chance that the Jaguars add a wide receiver this offseason, whether it be through the draft or in free agency. Even with that being the case, Chark should certainly be closer to his 2019 output in 2021 than his 2020 campaign.
Tyler Boyd (CIN)
Early in the offseason, it seems as if people are flocking toward Tee Higgins as the wide receiver on the Cincinnati Bengals to have the most shares of. While Higgins is poised for a breakout sophomore season with the Bengals, why not target Tyler Boyd this offseason as well? Boyd immediately became Joe Burrow’s favorite weapon in Cincinnati’s offense, though a season-ending knee injury to Burrow derailed their productive year together.
Over the span of Weeks 1-10 – the weeks that Burrow played – Boyd was sitting as WR13 with 144.9 fantasy points. After Burrow went down from Weeks 11-17, Boyd struggled to maintain his consistency as he was WR67 in that span due to the woes under center for the Bengals. Despite his sluggish ending to the 2020 season, Boyd proved that he has a special rapport brewing with Burrow.
Burrow is currently focused on rehabbing this offseason in hopes to be starting in Week 1 of the 2021 season. The second-year quarterback began running again last month, putting him on schedule to be ready for the beginning of the season, barring any setbacks. Even if Burrow is forced to miss time to start the upcoming season, Boyd could be a massive steal as WR28 in the ECR on FantasyPros.
Gabriel Davis (BUF)
Due to the impressive nature of some of the rookie wide receivers in 2020, some of them seemed to have gotten overlooked by many people. One of the rookie wideouts that didn’t get enough credit during this past season was Gabriel Davis of the Buffalo Bills. In an offense that saw drastic improvement with the addition of Stefon Diggs, Davis made the most of his limited opportunities.
Davis, a fourth-round pick out of Central Florida, was able to tally 35 receptions, 599 yards, and seven touchdowns for the Bills in 2020. As mentioned above, similar to Chark, Davis was among a small group of pass-catchers that saw 60+ targets who produced an aDOT of 14+ yards and a drop percentage below five percent in 2020. Even though Diggs, Cole Beasley, and John Brown all commanded targets, Davis still proved he can be a prominent option through the air moving forward.
The Central Florida product accounted for 2.21 fantasy points per target, which was the 11th most among wide receivers in 2020. With the salary cap expected to decline a bit this offseason amid the COVID-19 pandemic, teams are parting ways with certain players to create some wiggle room. Ahead of free agency, the Bills could release Brown, which would open the door for Davis to see an expanded role in the offense.
As he enters his second season in the NFL, Davis currently sits as WR86 in the ECR on FantasyPros. If -or when – the Bills choose to move on from Brown this offseason, Davis could see his value rise rapidly in a now pass-heavy offense. Given that, right now is the time to acquire Davis via trade in dynasty leagues.
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with Starting Your Own Fantasy Football League or head to more advanced strategy – like What is the Right Amount of Risk to Absorb on Draft Day? – to learn more.